End of Summer Tomatoes

Posted 9/02/08
by Jane Kashlak

"Want some tomatoes?" I ask a friend who called the other day.

"No, no not another tomato giver", he moans. "You're the fourth person this week who wants to give away tomatoes."

It's the season for tomato largesse.

Even my mother, who eagerly waits for that first tomato from our garden, has a cool response to my offer.

"Maybe two, I'll take just a couple." she says.

Early in the summer, we hoard those first few garden tomatoes, slicing carefully and celebrating the garden goods to come.

By early September, dozens of old fashioned, heirloom tomatoes cover our kitchen table. Huge pink Brandywines, fuzzy yellow Garden Peaches, deep dark Black Krims, little red 4th of July's.

Garden Partner did a superb job this year with his tomato patch. Our plot runneth over.

At the same time, we've almost had our fill - can I really be saying this? - of tomato salads.

We know there's no way we can ever eat enough tomatoes to keep up with the late summer surge of supply.

Where were all the tomatoes back in June and early July, when we were craving that sweet, tangy tomato taste?

This year, we've discovered the art of making fresh tomato sauce for the freezer. We now have bags of the stuff.

We've also frozen peeled and seeded chunks of tomatoes for future winter pizzas.

We've ventured into the world of sun drying tomatoes - with our oven. Cape May is too humid to actually dry anything outside.

And, we just made our first batch of tomato preserves - from my mother-in-law Betty Kerlinger's recipe. (Her secret - lots of ginger and lemon peel.)

And yet, we still have tomatoes left over.

Sadly, these really are the last tomatoes of summer. It's the final bumper crop of the year. And we know that, in just a few months, we'll be yearning for a good fresh Jersey tomato all over again.


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